You Are Invited to the Cast Party Following the Production Formally Known as Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
About the project
You Are Invited to the Cast Party… was a student production by the graduating acting class at the University of Toronto. Professor Baņuta Rubess had long been interested in adapting Virginia Woolf’s great modernist novel Mrs Dalloway for the stage. As the Teaching Assistant for the course, I became the dramaturg for the play, conducting research and providing production dramaturgy. To arrive at a script, we broke down the novel mechanically into the stories that get told. We would then take sections and the cast would improvise around them, discovering characters, lines, and images. Somewhere along the way, the students decided that the show was less of a pure adaptation and more like a cast party in which actors are re-living their favourite moments of the show, playing each other’s roles and improvising costumes and props from their surroundings. That idea allowed for a departure from realism and gave the show a ludic sensibility. With an ensemble of nine actors contributing ideas in addition to the director, rehearsals risking becoming a frantic cacophony of creativity, making frequent consultation with a production dramaturg all the more necessary.
You Are Invited to the Cast Party Following the Production Formally Known as Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. By Virginia Woolf. Adapted by Baņuta Rubess and the cast. Starring Paige Allerton, Joel Chico, Rion Chow, Chelsea Dab Hilke, Liz Laywine, Megan Ready-Walters, Aviva Philipp-Muller, Madeleine Swinkin, and Eric Synnott. Directed by Baņuta Rubess. Helen Phelan Gardiner Playhouse, Toronto. 4-15 Mar. 2014.